Love among the Ruins

Love among the Ruins: A true story

Eleanor entered the dining room at University Oaks with more than a little trepidation. How would Jerry react to her appearance?  Before she was suddenly taken to the hospital six weeks ago, he had proposed to her, and she had accepted, so she was full of  anticipation, as well as fear.

She spotted him as she took her seat at her assigned table. During the meal, she wheeled herself over to Jerry’s table. All eyes were on them as she made her way.  She had been warned by one of Jerry's table mates that he doesn’t always recognize people these days, but was shocked when he gave her a stony stare.

“His eyes are black,” she said when she returned. “That means he’s really mad at me. He has blue eyes, but they turn black when he’s angry.”

She could talk of nothing else when she returned to her room to pick up some clothes.

“He’s upset because   I didn’t get in touch with him while I was gone,” she reasoned.

Eleanor had just been too sick to think clearly. Only recently has she regained some composure. She feared it was too late.

Later, as she left her room, she spotted Jerry standing by himself, just sort of staring into space. She went up to him, and he gave her a huge smile.

“Where have you been?” he asked. “I have been looking all over for you. I must have circled this place twenty times, but I couldn’t find you.” She later learned that had walked the premises for two hours that sad day.

Then it was all sunshine and roses between them as they resumed where they had left off.

But his mind has taken a terrible toll. Eleanor thinks that it’s because of the trauma of her unexplained departure, and then the weeks of no news.

“You’re all I have,” he said to her.

He followed her to the car when we left for her medical facility.

“I am going with you,” he insisted, despite our urgings for him to return. He was about to enter the back seat of the car and we were frantic. It was developing into an ugly scene, with Jerry adamant that he was not going to let her go again. Two young women in white coats came out and persuaded him that it was time for supper. Reluctantly, he followed them back into the building.

Of course, Eleanor is now all the more desperate to get back to her “home” and to Jerry. She’s waiting for some doctor to give some report on some test that was done last week. Her fate is in the hands of others, who, of course, do not know or care about the love between her and Jerry. Meanwhile, she shares the halls of the rehab center with the crippled, the maimed, those with little or no hope for the future, whose hard, empty, hopeless faces shout “Despair!” day in and day out.

And back at University Oaks, Jerry wanders the corridors, looking not only for his room, but for the one whom he already considers his wife, who he suspects has been abducted by dastardly men with evil intent. He has forgotten Eleanor’s explanation of why she had to leave again.